Persecution is explained as hostility or ill treatment because of race,political belief or religion. This is different from punishment. Punishment is rendered when one does something wrong- Matthew 5:10-12 & 44.
Hostility is experienced from the world because you were recognized as a Christian; When we make a decision to stand for Jesus,the whole of heaven rejoices and is for you and hell comes against you. The Bible says who ever wants to live a faithful life faces persecution.
Persecution comes in different forms,there is physical abuse which has to do with torture or imprisonment and Verbal abuse which is back biting and insults just to mention a few. There are Bible characters who faced persecution.
1. Daniel-Daniel 6:20 ,he faced persecution for refusing to compromise.
2. The three Hebrew boys,Shadrack,Meshach and Abednego who refused to bow to the king Nebuchadnezzar-Daniel 3
3. John the Baptist was beheaded at the request of the step daughter of the King’s request.
4. Peter was crucified upside down because he did not see himself worthy to be crucified like Jesus was.
5. Paul was also beheaded
6. James the son of Alveolus also faced persecution
7. John the revelator was put in boiling oil
8. Stephen was stoned to death
When your mind is set on things above,the things on earth looses its value. Jesus endured the shame because he looked at his reward in heaven.He went through this for others to be saved. Do not think what you are going through will destroy you because God knows the kind of persecution you can overcome and would not let the one you cannot come to you.
God us allows us to go through because it is a part of the christian package. Not all sufferings brings reward,many suffer for the wrong things.
1. Because Jesus promised it;he told the people what they would go through before they chose to follow him. Salvation comes freely but following Christ is not free but comes with a cost.
2. Our master was persecuted therefore we would also be persecuted -John 15:20
3. We are not of this world; aliens are not received so are we.
4. It is part of the normal christian life
5. Life is war-Paul told Timothy to fight a good fight;our enemy is Satan and he would use everything at his disposal to persecute us.
The 3 E’s for persecution:
1. Expect it Acts 14:22
2. Endure it 2nd Timothy 2:3
3. Enjoy it – Paul’state did not determine his attitude when he was in prison
Above all, do not fear the things you suffer or what you go through or what the devil throws at you but be faithful to the end – Revelations 2:10.